Not to be outdone by the recently opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Staten Island officials announced plans last Thursday to build the world’s largest ferris wheel on the island’s southern end. The black sheep of the five boroughs, Staten Island, which is currently famous for hosting one of the world’s largest landfills, is also planning a large-scale redevelopment of the northern point of the island, aiming to get Manhattan residents out to the island in droves.
The ferris wheel, tentatively named the “New York Wheel” (original naming on that one), would be about half the size of the Empire State Building at 625 feet tall, and could fit 1440 people per ride. Although construction isn’t set to begin for at least two years, officials hoped the ride would be open by 2015. The “New York Wheel” is set to be just 84 feet higher than the current record-setter, the Singapore Flyer.
But the ferris wheel isn’t all that Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at last week’s press conference. Bloomberg also proposed a large-scale apartment, hotel, and retail complex surrounding the ferris wheel and RCB Ballpark, the home of the minor league Staten Island Yankees. Considering its proximity to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, Bloomberg sees the area becoming one of the city’s new hotspots.
“It will be an attraction unlike any other in New York City – in fact, it will be, we think, unlike any other on the planet,” said Bloomberg to USA Today.
While a giant ferris wheel may not be enough to convince you to go out to Staten Island, the ferry ride is actually a great time and offers one of the best views of the city. So maybe its time we finally get on over to the island.
NYU Local Editor-in-Chief and Staten Island Native, Myles Tanzer, is less optimistic: “I think the ferris wheel is a pretty bad idea. I don’t really think the cost is an issue because the revenue produced by the mall and the ferris wheel will offset the costs a lot. But I think it’s a bad idea because Staten Island is already treated like it’s a freak sideshow, a ferris wheel will only turn it into a circus.”